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jinjo4444

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This is my first time trying my own wine and I have a Chardonnay kit that has oak chips. As per the instructions in the kit it said to add them right away. The first fermentation should be completed this weekend and I'm going to rack it to the carboy, but I have no idea how to do this since the sediment will be on the bottom and the oak chips are floating on top.

Another question, I completely skipped the part about taking the specific gravity when I first put it in the fermenter so I will have nothing to compare the hydrometer reading to. Does it matter or is it only to see the alcohol percentage difference?
 

sour_grapes

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Welcome to WMT.

You will find that it makes your life A LOT easier if you have a siphon. Most of us use an "autosiphon" like the one pictured below. If you cannot get that in time, you could get away with a simple piece of vinyl tubing if you are careful.

In a kit, the main reason to have the initial specific gravity is to get the ABV, as you say. Just make sure you have one when you are trying to judge completion.



 

pete1325

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Taking the S G at the beginning is always better. But, now that your into it take a reading, note it and check it again before you rack to secondary. Make sure you are at around 1.000 before racking to secondary. Are you doing primary fermentation in a carboy or a bucket? If in a buck strain off the oak chips and put them in a strainer bag or cheese cloth with the ends tied off and put them back in the primary bucket until you rack to the carboy at S G 1.000-.999. If you want to continue to oak get some oak spirals. They are less of a pain when racking, taking S G. Make sure you tie them with some clean fishing line to the neck of the carboy. that makes it easier to rack later as well.
 

jinjo4444

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Thanks :)

Man I find this confusing. The instructions from the place I bought my equipment from (who have been around for 50 years so I would think they know what they're talking about), and the instructions in the wine kit itself are so different.

The brewing store instructions say to not transfer the sediment and to not let the wine splash into the carboy when racking, and the instructions in my kit say make sure to transfer all sediment and make sure to splash the wine into the carboy when racking. lol I think they are working in collaboration to make my head explode haha.

Also, I've heard many different ideas on filling the airlock half full with water, then I heard use vodka not water, then I heard use water mixed with potassium powder that came with the kit.

Which is correct, or does it matter?
 

Chuck E

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@jinjo4444
Wine kits have their instructions optimized for speed. They try to make a kit drinkable in 8 weeks. The brew shop is telling you what their customers probably do.

In most cases, when transfering from the fermenting bucket you don't worry about the sediment. If some gets into the carboy, it will settle out pretty quick. If it splashes during the transfer it's OK. Freshly fermented wine has alot of CO2 gas dissolved in it. Splashing helps that to dissipate.

Filling the airlock with something is the key here. Water is ok, vodka is better (because it kills bacteria & mold), and Potassium meta-bisulfite (Kmeta) dissolved in water is good too (just like vodka). If you plan on aging the wine, you need to make sure the airlock does not go dry.

Personally, I plan on aging my wines for a minimum of 12 months, racking (transferring from one carboy to another) every 3 months. A good racking schedule is:
1. rack from fermentation to carboy.
2. 3 days later, rack from carboy to clean-sanitized carboy to get off the gross lees (sediment).
3. 3 months later, rack from carboy to clean-sanitized carboy to get off the fine lees (sediment). Add 1/4 tsp. Kmeta per 5 gallons
And so on, until you are ready to bottle.
 

BernardSmith

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It strikes me that the kit manufacturers are not simply all about speed (tho that certainly comes into things) - After all they want customers to have an empty carboy that nags them into filling it again as soon as possible).. and that is the basis of the second reason for their instructions. And the kit manufacturers need to create customers who when making their first kit feel that they have had no problems and are eager to make a second or a third kit.

For experienced wine makers there are GOOD reasons to splash rack and there are GOOD reasons to transfer lees but for novice wine makers the best practices are the practices that are fail safe and are no fail... and the kit maker invariably creates their concentrates in such a way that the instructions they provide are fail safe.

But I wonder if the purpose of racking the sediment may be to encourage MLF if the kit is a red wine. Off flavors from the breakdown of dead yeast cells is what your LHBS staff are trying to prevent but if the wine is to be racked after a couple of weeks after pitching the yeast, autolysis is not going to be a major problem although leaving too much headroom might be...
 

jinjo4444

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Vinifera Chardonnay which the brew shop recommended for my first try. (anyone know if this is any good?)

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I racked it without the sediment and didn't splash. (I also went with the vodka in the airlock idea). Also, I totally agree to go more towards the fail safe kind of approach since I have no clue what I'm doing lol.

What's gross is that when I went in the room to rack it I noticed there were a few fruit flies hovering above the fermenter bucket. Luckily I had the lid set on there well enough they didn't get in or I would not have been a happy camper.
 

hounddawg

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Vinifera Chardonnay which the brew shop recommended for my first try. (anyone know if this is any good?)

View attachment 63805
I racked it without the sediment and didn't splash. (I also went with the vodka in the airlock idea). Also, I totally agree to go more towards the fail safe kind of approach since I have no clue what I'm doing lol.

What's gross is that when I went in the room to rack it I noticed there were a few fruit flies hovering above the fermenter bucket. Luckily I had the lid set on there well enough they didn't get in or I would not have been a happy camper.
aw they never drink all that much :sm
Dawg
 

BernardSmith

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aw they never drink all that much :sm
Dawg
I agree, Those fruit flies don't drink more than a drop but they shed acetobacter like there is no tomorrow and in fact when they have brushed those bacteria from their clothes and made themselves all ship shape and bristol fashion there is no tomorrow as far as your wine is concerned. There is only vinegar. :tz
 

hounddawg

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I agree, Those fruit flies don't drink more than a drop but they shed acetobacter like there is no tomorrow and in fact when they have brushed those bacteria from their clothes and made themselves all ship shape and bristol fashion there is no tomorrow as far as your wine is concerned. There is only vinegar. :tz
hum i was wondering why i have fly traps, fly strips, food grade Diatomaceous Earth, covering my wine room floors, peppermint extract put on cotton balls, water traps, :sm
Dawg
 

jinjo4444

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I found this tip through Google. Have any of you tried this or is it false? Google doesn't ALWAYS tell the truth lol.

"A common issue I've seen in homebrew forums is regarding fruit flies getting into the airlock. Most airlocks have caps with tiny holes to let gas escape but large enough to let fruit flies in (then they drown in the sanitizer)

I'd prefer they not get in at all so here's my air lock hack: Simply twist a napkin around the top portion of the cap!"
 

winemaker81

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Regarding racking sediment, I recall reading an article that stated the initial heavier sediment helps precipitate the finer sediment when using kieselsol/chitosan, which is commonly used in kits. I can't find the reference and can't verify if that is correct. However, it fits with the kit instructions and how kieselsol/chitosan work, so it's as good a theory as any.

In general, follow the kit instructions. It seems common for non-kit wine makers to use non-kit method on kit wines. As others have commented, kits are optimized to consistently produce a decent wine that the maker can be proud of, in a short period of time. There are differences in the methods and the instructions for all kits I'm familiar with are correct.

When making any wine (kit or non-kit), I don't fuss about sediment during the first 2 rackings. No, I don't intentionally move sediment to the new container, but I don't worry about a bit getting transferred. In recent years I use a fining agent for all wines (added after the 2nd racking), so that third racking is the one where I avoid racking sediment.

While I agree that kit vendors have a vested interest in keeping everyone's carboys full, there is also human nature. In the last year, how many newcomers have posted a question that is essentially, "I started my wine yesterday, when can I drink it?" 😋

Kits get the wine in the bottle ASAP, as they know their customers want to start drinking it. Hey! That's what we make wine for, right?

Of course, when the wine supply is diminishing, the carboy needs filling ....
 

hounddawg

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I found this tip through Google. Have any of you tried this or is it false? Google doesn't ALWAYS tell the truth lol.

"A common issue I've seen in homebrew forums is regarding fruit flies getting into the airlock. Most airlocks have caps with tiny holes to let gas escape but large enough to let fruit flies in (then they drown in the sanitizer)

I'd prefer they not get in at all so here's my air lock hack: Simply twist a napkin around the top portion of the cap!"
i have found naits in my S airlocks over the years around 3 times, yep it was back to potassium metabisulfite solution to sanitize the airlock and refill with solution yet again,
Dawg
 

jinjo4444

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I’m 4 days in to the clearing stage but I’ve got SO much sediment on the bottom. It looks like a sandy beach down there. Is this normal?

BB176C0A-1749-487A-8527-5FF04A00A9BD.jpeg
 
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